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Re taking MCAT?

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ejlee23

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I had two interviews - one post interview hold and still waiting to hear back from the second school. I got a 30 on my MCAT (10 in each section).

I am currently working as a lab manager in a research lab. cum GPA and sci GPA are 3.7. Great LOR. Worked in a lab all throughout college doing research and volunteered for 3 years in college at the nearby hospital.

Right now, I'm wondering if I should take the MCAT a second time or just bulk up my resume by volunteering at a hospital and shadowing doctors.

I am torn because I want to get my applications in early as possible with a new MCAT score (if it is necessary to take). But I don't think I'm ready to take the exam in May, which would be ideal to work on my apps for June.

Any suggestions? Thank you!
 

Admissions to Medicine

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Retake the MCAT. A higher MCAT score will probably be most beneficial to your application at this point (can't be sure until I review your profile). How did your interview go? Why do you feel you were waitlisted from that one program? -Admissionstomedicine
 

ejlee23

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Retake the MCAT. A higher MCAT score will probably be most beneficial to your application at this point (can't be sure until I review your profile). How did your interview go? Why do you feel you were waitlisted from that one program? -Admissionstomedicine

My interview went well! It was really early in the application cycle, and my first interview. To be honest though, I feel like I lack in volunteering. I've never shadowed a doctor and volunteered for a small amount of hours over a long period of time. So I will definitely do more of that for my application next cycle. But I guess I should start the intense studying now for next cycle, just in case this cycle doesn't work out...

It's just that it's a lot of money and it's hard to find motivation to study when I'm waiting to hear back from that last school. But thank you for your reply! It definitely gives me that last push!
 

Admissions to Medicine

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My interview went well! It was really early in the application cycle, and my first interview. To be honest though, I feel like I lack in volunteering. I've never shadowed a doctor and volunteered for a small amount of hours over a long period of time. So I will definitely do more of that for my application next cycle. But I guess I should start the intense studying now for next cycle, just in case this cycle doesn't work out...

It's just that it's a lot of money and it's hard to find motivation to study when I'm waiting to hear back from that last school. But thank you for your reply! It definitely gives me that last push!

So this is where knowing the "personality" of the school will help. Did you apply to a research or primary care program? Although all programs can prepare you for both worlds, Research focused programs will care more about research experience and the higher MCAT, while primary care focused schools will care more about volunteering hours and things of that nature. - Admissionstomedicine
 

pietachok

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I had two interviews - one post interview hold and still waiting to hear back from the second school. I got a 30 on my MCAT (10 in each section).

I am currently working as a lab manager in a research lab. cum GPA and sci GPA are 3.7. Great LOR. Worked in a lab all throughout college doing research and volunteered for 3 years in college at the nearby hospital.

Right now, I'm wondering if I should take the MCAT a second time or just bulk up my resume by volunteering at a hospital and shadowing doctors.

I am torn because I want to get my applications in early as possible with a new MCAT score (if it is necessary to take). But I don't think I'm ready to take the exam in May, which would be ideal to work on my apps for June.

Any suggestions? Thank you!
I disagree with the responses left here.

Be very careful in deciding to retake the MCAT. You would hurt your application if your score went down, and no student retakes it think he'll be the one that happens to, and yet it happens.

Personally, I don't think I would retake anything >=30, particularly when it sounds like you suspect you're lacking in other areas (shadowing, volunteering). Almost 40% of people who retake with a 30 are going to stay at the same score or have a decrease. Nobody who shadows or volunteers is going to accidentally have a decrease in hours :). So, since you have a limited number of hours to devote to improving your application for next cycle, I would really consider whether hours spent studying for the MCAT retake might be better spent strengthening your application in other ways.

Here is a website from Harvard's premed advising that outlines good questions to ask yourself before deciding on a re-take:
http://www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu/students/careers/medicine/applicationprocess/mcat-retake.htm

2 interviews is not very high yield (although not necessarily anomalous) if you applied to a typical number of schools. Although a 30 is not a stellar MCAT score, if you chose your application list well, with a 3.7, one could theoretically expect more interviews if the rest of your application were top notch. If your interviews were at your state schools only and your list of schools was appropriate for your MCAT, then I'd be concerned that the rest of your application has some aspect that is too weak to pass screening without that boost from being IS. It could be anything from ECs to LORs to PS/secondaries.
 
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woltej1

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Your academics are pretty good. I do see a lack of clinical experience though. Depending on what program and school you apply to, lab research, especially that much, can do more harm than good. You got some volunteer work in a hospital, but you seem to be lacking experience in medicine with a more professional setting.
 

Claire Daniel

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Hello, I would really appreciate some advice on my re-application situation. I filed twenty secondaries this season and received one interview invite (and subsequent placement on the alternate list), ten rejections, and have not heard from TEN schools. At this point, I am assuming it is just a matter of time before I am notified of those ten additional rejections. My plan now is to begin my application for the 2014/15 season. My MCAT section scores (from 2012) are PS 8, BS 11, and VR 12 (Q). I am worried that the 8 in physical sciences has kept me from receiving interview invitations, and I would like to retake the exam in June. I am also lacking in volunteering and somewhat in clinical experience, but I am about to shadow a local DO and an MD. I am also beginning to volunteer at an organization that finds housing for homeless individuals. When I applied to schools this season, I was in the midst of a master's program in Health Psychology in London. I have now completed my dissertation and finished the program with 'distinction' (the UK equivalent to an A average). Save finishing my master's and taking anatomy/physiology courses this past year, I haven't yet done anything to improve my application. In reality, I have been serving nearly full-time as my partner's caregiver during his six-month chemotherapy regime. This is why, in addition to volunteering and shadowing as much as possible over the next two months, I would like to retake the MCAT. I'm just not sure of the best way to prepare--and whether it is even practical to study for ten weeks while holding other commitments. Thank you for your time and consideration, as this is my first post on the website.

GPA
BCPM 3.62, Total 3.56

Experience
Research: 300 hrs qualitative (social science--addiction & exercise), 420 hours (REU program--proteomics lab), 420 hours (independent ecology field research in Costa Rica), 420 hours (analytical chemistry assistant and field research intern)

Shadowing: 120 hours in a bone marrow transplant center with various oncologists

Relevant employment: 240 hours as a 'community health ambassador' working on a national bowel cancer awareness campaign in the UK--had direct patient contact but did not list this as medical/clinical

Volunteering: 40 hours (elementary school mentor)... okay I see the obvious hole here now. The volunteering I did in college was mostly sporadic, so I didn't include most of it (but it was not impressive anyways)
 
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Goro

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Was you MCAT score badly imbalanced? if so, then a retake might be in order, but there are a good number of low-tier MD programs and all DO programs will be happy with a 30.

The risk of retaking is that you might go down or only marginally increase. Do you think your chances would be any better with a 31?

IF you get rejected, make sure to get feedback on why, and fix that.

I had two interviews - one post interview hold and still waiting to hear back from the second school. I got a 30 on my MCAT (10 in each section).

I am currently working as a lab manager in a research lab. cum GPA and sci GPA are 3.7. Great LOR. Worked in a lab all throughout college doing research and volunteered for 3 years in college at the nearby hospital.

Right now, I'm wondering if I should take the MCAT a second time or just bulk up my resume by volunteering at a hospital and shadowing doctors.

I am torn because I want to get my applications in early as possible with a new MCAT score (if it is necessary to take). But I don't think I'm ready to take the exam in May, which would be ideal to work on my apps for June.

Any suggestions? Thank you!
 

ejlee23

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I disagree with the responses left here.

Be very careful in deciding to retake the MCAT. You would hurt your application if your score went down, and no student retakes it think he'll be the one that happens to, and yet it happens.

Personally, I don't think I would retake anything >=30, particularly when it sounds like you suspect you're lacking in other areas (shadowing, volunteering). Almost 40% of people who retake with a 30 are going to stay at the same score or have a decrease. Nobody who shadows or volunteers is going to accidentally have a decrease in hours :). So, since you have a limited number of hours to devote to improving your application for next cycle, I would really consider whether hours spent studying for the MCAT retake might be better spent strengthening your application in other ways.

Here is a website from Harvard's premed advising that outlines good questions to ask yourself before deciding on a re-take:
http://www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu/students/careers/medicine/applicationprocess/mcat-retake.htm

2 interviews is not very high yield (although not necessarily anomalous) if you applied to a typical number of schools. Although a 30 is not a stellar MCAT score, if you chose your application list well, with a 3.7, one could theoretically expect more interviews if the rest of your application were top notch. If your interviews were at your state schools only and your list of schools was appropriate for your MCAT, then I'd be concerned that the rest of your application has some aspect that is too weak to pass screening without that boost from being IS. It could be anything from ECs to LORs to PS/secondaries.

Thank you for your response! To be honest, I think I just didn't play the application game right. I handed my secondaries around August and early October. The two interviews I did get were OOS schools and I did get one letter saying I was in the interview bin, but the class was already filled up. Unfortunately, I just saw this post, so I re-enrolled to Kaplan's MCAT course... I don't know what to do now. But I did get a volunteer position at the local hospital last week and have been working there. Working on trying to shadow someone now! I have no idea what to do still though... and all that money :(
 
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